Monday, June 2, 2014

8 whale and dolphin species, it keeps getting better!

This morning we bet our record from yesterday. We encountered 7 cetacean species in just 3 hours. To summarise they are listed below:

We started with the fin whales - 2 large individuals together that were very calm and curious towards our boats. Next we encountered a male sperm whale that was on the surface for a long time for us to watch it well, and then showed us its beautiful large tail. It turned out to be the exact same whale that we encountered on the morning of the 30th of May (we can identify the different individuals by the natural marks on the edge of their tails). Next we had two different groups of bottlenose dolphins, followed by some pilot whales (including a lovely mother and juvenile pair), not far away. The last surprise for the morning tour was a mixed group of 3 dolphin species: common dolphins, striped dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. Today marks the first day that we are seeing the Atlantic spotted dolphins back in the waters of the Azores for the summer. All  three dolphin species were feeding together with birds (Cory's shearwaters and yellow-legged gulls) on a school of fish right at the surface. We also came across several turtles this morning and from our zodiac boat they even saw an ocean sunfish (Mola mola). What an incredible morning.

In the afternoon we saw 5 different species (one of them wasn´t found in the morning): sperm whale, common dolphin, striped dolphin, spotted dolphin and two sei whales. At the start of the trip the weather was a typical sunny day with crystal clear waters so that we could see the dolphins from the vessels as if they were out of the water. The dolphins were just off the coastline of Ribeira Quente, along the southeast part of São Miguel Island. We saw also a loggerhead turtle swimming calmly at surface. During the last part of the tour we went off the coast of Caloura to have an encounter with two sei whales. It his point it started to rain and turn the tour completely changed for all of us. On our return to Ponta Delgada and saw a lot of more common dolphins everywhere until we arrived back to the harbour of Ponta  Delgada.

Photos from the morning:

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

 Fin whale

 Fin whale and our catamaran Cetus approaching

Our catamaran Cetus

2 fin whales together

A closer look to a fin whale 

Sperm whale diving

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins

Pilot whales - mother and juvenile

Pilot whales

Common dolphin

Common dolphin

Watching a common dolphin (and a Cory's shearwater)

Striped dolphins - notice the head of the calf behind the mother

A group of striped dolphins

Aboard Cetus

 Loggerhead turtle together with a Cory's shearwater

Fin of a ocean sunfish

Our swimming with dolphins boat

Photos from the afternoon:

 Common dolphin

 Striped dolphins

 Loggerhead turtle

 Sei whale

Dorsal fin of the Sei whale

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